Should I describe my type of work/past industry while applying?

Social Security was designed to help people in need. While the majority of assistance goes to older Americans, a large portion of Social Security’s benefits go to those with disabilities.

Filing for disability benefits can be tricky; however, so it is vital that your application is properly filled out. With the right information and resources, you can hopefully be approved for disability benefits in as little as a few months.

Should I describe my work experience when applying?

In short: Definitely yes. And here is why:

When you apply for Social Security disability benefits, you are telling the Social Security Association (SSA) that your disability prevents you from living a normal, independent life. This means that you are either a) completely unable to work, or b) are incapable of finding a job that your skill set and disabilities still allow you to perform.

A simple example of this would be a factory worker that suffered a debilitating physical disability such as paralysis — his disability prevents him from returning to his job and finding any other similar work, so he qualifies for financial assistance.

Most cases are not this simple, however. Merely including a list of past work history may not show the SSA that you are incapable of working. In fact, this list could potentially make it harder for you to qualify for benefits. By not including details of your work duties and experience, you are leaving it up to the disability examiner to assume what work you are and aren’t qualified for. And, if they deem you still fit to find work, you are disqualified from receiving Social Security benefits.

To prevent this from happening in your application, be as descriptive as possible about your past work. When explaining your work experience, list more than the companies and job titles. Describe your positions and all of the duties they entail. List the specific skill sets you have developed in these positions. Explain how your disability affects your ability to do these specific, necessary tasks. You can even bring in the ranking of your position as a factor — perhaps getting another job of a higher rank would be more difficult. Any details you can provide help take the guesswork out of your application.

This can be said for every area of the Social Security application as well. Always provide as much information as possible about your disability and the reasons you require assistance. From medical bills to doctor’s notes to statements from work, any information you have is worth including.

What Is Considered “Past-Relevant Work”?

The SSA will determine your residual functional capacity level and declare whether you are able to do heavy work, medium work, light work, sedentary work, or less than sedentary work. If it has been decided that you can only do less than sedentary work, you will likely qualify for benefits.

According to the SSA, past-relevant work must have occurred in the last 15 years, must have earned you a certain dollar amount per month to be considered substantial gainful activity (SGA), and must have lasted long enough for you to have learned the job.

Speaking with a Social Security Attorney

Filing for Social Security disability insurance can be a long, confusing process. However, speaking with a Social Security attorney can make all the difference. From handling paperwork to attending hearings and presenting your case, attorneys are an invaluable asset to your case. Claimants are also more likely to qualify for insurance when they are represented by legal counsel.

For your best chance at qualifying for Social Security disability benefits, speak with an attorney today.

Additional Resources

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